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ECHOLALIA
BY WILLIAM PELOT MOORE

She got out of bed and was hitching up her thong. He was across the room bending over a stack of books to find Websterís. He wanted to look up crudités so he could get the pronunciation straight. At the restaurant last night he had pointed to the appetizer menu, and the waiter had repeated the word in some elegant way he could not precisely remember. The word had stuck in his mind all morning, and it was joined by another, soixante-neuf,  in alternating announcements. All this minutes ago when he and his long-distance lover had tumbled naked and willing, from position to position, insatiable in a last hurrah. So what is it? she asked, and ran some roll-on under her arms. Basically, he said, crudités means overpriced carrot sticks and dip. You stress the last part, the tah. Well, whatever, she said, that place last night was way too stuffy. Letís find a simple spot for lunch. But itís the Quarter, he said, with so many good places. Her jeans were up and snapped. Playground closed. He put on a shirt, slumping. She brushed her hair and used only a touch of mascara and lip gloss to make herself spectacular. Get dressed, Professor. Iíve got an hour before the airport. They walked six blocks. He could not stop the voice in his head that counted his steps: 128, 129, 130. He wondered if he was actually counting his heartbeat. Perfect, she pointed, a down and dirty diner, and they took a booth by a window. Over a blue-plate special, he tapped his fork in some twice-baked potatoes. She smoked after a tuna salad. He stared at the lemon in the bottom of his glass. She had a shimmering dish of Jello for dessert and told him to be brave. They went out the door: 46, 47, 48 crudities said the P.A. in his head. All legs, she got in the back seat. Leaning over the door he said Goodbye my darling so very seriously. She called from the window of the departing cab: Ta, ta, Professor.

[Forever after at http://eyeshot.net/echolalia.html
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